One casualty of COVID has been the absence of children in our lives–with a few exceptions. During a lovely snowfall a few weeks ago, our neighbor’s children set up a “kitchen” to make snow cookies. As the snow became a bit deeper in the afternoon, they were out rolling, crawling and sliding down a short slope in their yard. Sophie only came inside when I offered to continue reading with her “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” She and her brother Lucas have been the only consistent young visitors to our place since the pandemic began. Each of them usually comes once a week for an hour or so to read, do a craft, write a bit, or sometimes play a game. Their parents do not go out to socialize in others’ homes, so we feel fairly safe with them.
The evening after the snowfall, I heard shouting and whooping come from the neighbor’s yard after dark. Later, Sophie later told me she and Lucas had jumped out of their hot tub and were rolling in the snow with just their swim wear on. They were literally reveling and rollicking in the icy cold under the stars. It did not last long, but it sent reverberations of delight into the neighborhood. They are a bright spot for us.
I am thankful for all of these young lives. Without COVID, it is doubtful that I would spend as much time with the neighbor’s children since they would be busy going to school and visiting their friends or family in other places. However, I do look forward to the time when we can more freely connect with the little people you see above. While we miss those whom we were accustomed to seeing, COVID has allowed us to make new configurations of family right where we are, and that is a gift.